1 : not spiritually reborn or converted
2 a : not reformed : unreconstructed
b : obstinate, stubborn
Did You Know?
One long-standing meaning of the adjective "regenerate" is "spiritually reborn or converted." By the late 1500s, English speakers had added "un-" to "regenerate" to describe someone who refused to accept spiritual reformation. Since then, "unregenerate" has taken on a life of its own, gaining the extended specific meanings of "unconverted to a particular doctrinaire viewpoint," "persisting in a reactionary stand," or just plain "stubborn." "Regenerate" and "unregenerate" trace back to the Latin word "genus," meaning "birth" or "descent."
"She sings … in a voice that could melt the heart of the most unregenerate musical hater." - Charles Isherwood, The New York Times, May 18, 2008
"A string of revivals later known as the Great Awakening blazed up and down the eastern seaboard-although scholars suspect that many of these new converts soon backslid into their unregenerate ways." - Molly Worthen, The Daily Beast, June 1, 2014
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Word Family Quiz
What member of the "genus" family once meant "highborn" and now can mean "abundant" or "freely giving or sharing"? The answer is …
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